Eco-Living Magazine

Dioxins in Food, Should There Be a Limit?

Posted on the 02 February 2012 by 2ndgreenrevolution

Dioxins in Food, Should There Be a Limit?Most people have heard of dioxin even if they do not fully understand what the term means.  Dioxins are one of the most toxic known substances. Dioxins are known to cause “ reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.” Currently, “Dioxins mainly enter the food chain as by-products of industrial processes.”

The scariest thing about dioxin is, “More than 90% of human exposure [to dioxin] is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish.” Dioxin also tends to stay in the body once it is absorbed.  It is one of the nasty chemicals that is fat soluble, so it clings to your fat cells and is nearly impossible to remove, similar to DDT.  “A single hot dog can contain more dioxin than the proposed limit for a 2-year-old [a day].”  That is a terrifying fact.

The WHO (World Health Organization) believes, “Food contamination monitoring systems must be in place to ensure that tolerance levels are not exceeded. It is the role of national governments to monitor the safety of food supply and to take action to protect public health.” Currently Americans are consuming dioxins at higher levels than recommended.

To date, no limit is set for dioxin consumption, but lobbyist are working to push the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to enforce a limit.  “The EPA is expected to recommend an intake limit of 0.7 picograms of dioxin per kilogram body weight per day.  A picogram is one trillionth of a gram.  The WHO and European Union limit is higher—from 1 to 4 picograms per kilogram per day.”

So of course the food industry is opposing this possible regulation.  They are claiming it will cause economic damage and a health scare among consumers. They formed The Food Industy Dioxin Working Group, which represents beef producers, food processing companies, farmers and food retailers.   One of their biggest reasons for opposing regulation is, “ ‘Under EPA’s proposal, this advice [EPA recommended daily dose of dioxin] could no longer stand as nearly every American – particularly young children – could easily exceed the daily RfD after consuming a single meal or heavy snack,’ according to the industry groups.”  I feel that the possibility of exceeding the RfD after one meal should be a reason for concern, not proving that the standards are too strenuous.  Especially when dioxin is known to be so toxic and harmful.  Shouldn’t we be protecting our children and not big money?  How can we be sustainable down the line if out children are ingesting potentially harmful levels of a known toxic chemical?  How will that impact the population if they are all suffering from diseases and other ill effect from dioxins?

The best way is to avoid dioxins until EPA actually acts like the protection agency they are suppose to be is to eat less high-fat meats, dairy foods, and seafood.  This goes along the lines of eating less meat since it is more sustainable to avoid the consumption of animal products.


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